Digital Comics Roundup: New Apps, Old Series and Second Chances

Alan Moore and Clive Barker get into digital comics, Mark Waid's "Empire" returns as a digital series and Diamond tries to break into digital for a second time.
Alan Moore and Clive Barker get into digital comics, Mark Waid's "Empire" returns as a digital series and Diamond tries to break into digital for a second time.

The landscape of the digital comics industry continues to shift in the wake of Amazon.com’s purchase of ComiXology in April, with four separate announcements Wednesday from companies looking to grow their share of the still-growing market.

Likely the most high-profile of the announcements is the launch of Electricomics, a new comic book app that will boast new work by Alan Moore and other creators (including Garth Ennis and Moore’s daughter, Leah) and also, according to press materials, offer an “open source toolkit” to help others create digital comics.

STORY: Digital Comics Platform ComiXology Bought by Amazon

“With Electricomics, we are hoping to address the possibilities of comic strips in this exciting new medium, in a way that they have never been addressed before,” Moore is quoted as saying in the official announcement of the app, which will be built by British company Ocasta Studios and published by Moore’s Orphans of the Storm venture co-founded with collaborator Mitch Jenkins.

The notion of a creator founding their own company to investigate the potential of digital storytelling is nothing new, of course; Daredevil and former Flash writer Mark Waid founded Thrillbent for that very reason two years ago, and on Wednesday, Thrillbent relaunches Waid’s print title Empire as a digital series to tell a story that Waid describes as “a story over a decade in the making.” Consider it the comic book version of Arrested Development going to Netflix, perhaps.

Elsewhere, digital studio Madefire continues to build an impressive portfolio with new partnerships announced with Archie Comics, Seraphim, Lion Forge and Arcana in addition to existing relationships with DC Entertainment, IDW, Dark Horse and more. Amongst the new titles Madefire will be transferring to its Motion Book format are Knight Rider, Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and critical hit Afterlife with Archie.

STORY: Diamond to Close Digital Storefront Program

In email, Madefire CEO Ben Wolstenholme told THR “We're very privileged to have these four publishers join the Madefire platform to make Motion Books. Having legendary creators like Clive Barker writing and developing his stories digital-first is a huge compliment — and very exciting for the Madefire readership!”

Finally, Diamond Comic Distributors has announced a second attempt at breaking into the digital space with a new partnership with Trajectory, Inc., described as a multiyear agreement to produce digital editions of material across multiple platforms. This announcement follows the February closure of Diamond Digital, Diamond’s previous digital initiative, created in partnership with iVerse Media.